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Psyrri Nightlife

 by Alexia Amvrazi

Often overlooked by the average tourist, simply because it is not yet ingrained in the visitor’s mind frame of Athens , Psyrri is a treasure trove for seekers of all kinds of pleasure. “Where’s THAT?” is the often heard, disquiet-laced response when the existence and brief description of this area is mentioned even to returning vacationers. Located a ten minutes walk away from the by now ludicrously-priced, deteriorated-quality districts of Monastiraki and Plaka, Psyrri is constantly growing into a refreshingly hip alternative to the cheesier aspects of Athens nightlife. There, one can live the surreal circus experience of crossing paths with every kind of individual, from prominent politicians and artists to shot-slugging students; there is something for everyone, yet it never ceases to feel like The Place To Be.

“Psyrri used to be a run-down area where during the day you could find any variety of specialized industry – from those selling an endless choice of screws to hat factories – and during the night it transformed into a bordello wasteland,” says Nikos Kondoprias, who runs the stylish and successful Epistrofi Gallery in the area. “But today it has become an exclusive hub of ethnic, Greek and themed restaurants, trendy and alternative bars and clubs, prominent art galleries and theatres and delightfully unusual shops.” Kondoprias, who has set up the popular and practical Psyrri Online website (www. has become something like the mayor of Psyrri, often approached for advice, assistance and collaboration by all of the area’s businessmen and residents. His knowledge and expertise on the area, apart from being valuable and interesting, is also exemplary of how the Psyrri bug can easily transmit from one enthusiast to the next. Most impressive of all is how Psyrri businesses stick together rather than compete. Owners and managers share a united vision of how to keep the quality high and how to keep bettering what’s already there, rather than isolating themselves from each other.

Called “the Soho of Athens”, Psyrri can be a place to spend an entire day in, but even an evening there can begin at six pm and effortlessly continue until six am . Visitors – alone or with any size company – can start off by enjoying a glass of ouzo or wine customarily accompanied by a ‘pikilia’ (a small variety of starters) at one of the traditional-style ouzeries such as the Rebekkas, ouzing with off-beat charm. One can then glide around a couple of galleries (suggestions below) or small museums, like the unique Gramophone Museum . After receiving a cultural overdose, one can deal with those noisy stomach rumblings by choosing among a huge array of restaurants: fun restaurants ( Multi Culti, Vanilla ), or ethnic/international cuisine with matching décor and music (often with live DJ or band), like Godzilla or plush Red Marrakech . Certainly Psyrri isn’t lacking in Greek food (Mediterranean fusion, traditional, regional) found in varieties as wide as Taki 13 , offering homemade traditional fare to Psipsina , mezedopoleia (like the ouzerie, offering a colourful variety of Greek starter dishes, as well as some basic main courses) such as Zeidoron , Beer ( Zithos ) and Wine ( Fasoli ) restaurants, and a multitude of bar-restaurants (cool Gay hangout Bee , or Thai influenced Bar Guru Bar ).

After dinner, one can begin the bar- and club-hopping adventure, or even get lost in time and space in one drinking or dancing den alone. Again, there’s a grand choice of locales – one can start off sipping the first cocktail along to global funk at Thirio and end up letting loose to salsa at Kouzina Cine Psyrri ’s live Cuban band, having already rubbed shoulders with local celebrities at one of the most à la mode spots in town, Privilege , sweated it out in a blood-red exotic-themed Free Your Base along to live bongos and rap or done some knee-bending swings to reggae at Babalu or some groovy disco moves at Soul.

Seasons metamorphose Psyrri, but the party atmosphere never goes away. Bars and clubs are buzzing with conversation and the enjoyment of unique sounds – some DJs taking bar-bees on a trip from space-age trance to hip-juggling Arabesque – combined with genuinely sophisticated décor and drinks. Rose-petal or chocolate champagne, weird and wonderful shots offered on the house, icy cocktails in unusual goblets work their magic on regulars and first visitors alike. Even when one has been to Psyrri an innumerable amount of times, and regularly visits certain favorite bars and clubs there, the variety of routes to follow in the course of an evening seems limitless. Depending on one’s mood – dark and introvert, wild and restless, silent and serene, chatty and relaxed, there are always choices, and, without threatening the current balance of status quo amongst existing places, new places keep mushrooming up. With the approach of the Olympic Games in 2004, Athens is speedily catching up – and in some levels is miles ahead of – with the paradigm and reputation set by elite cities worldwide.

The streets of Psyrri are small and winding, cobbled and suitable for pedestrians, so simply strolling along is an experience in itself. Yearlong, one gets the sense of being on an island, far away from urban enclosure but certainly not far from the madding crowd. As gypsies pop fragrant gardenias in your face, you can mull your next move. Although winter is a great time to squish into a deeply cool bar like Vibe or raise the grunge level in your veins at Mad Club , summertime is ideal, when one can sit out sipping frosted, minty Caipirinhas and chatting endlessly with friends whilst bobbing along to whatever sound is pouring out of the chosen bar. Astron and Inoteka are the stars of the show for this kind of funky fun, really plucking the city out of the city-resident

It’s important to warn readers that Psyrri has a really dark side: It is hazardously addictive. Beware of spending all your money or time there because Athens does indeed have a great deal more to offer. The trick, as with Psyrri, is to not carve out a regular path for oneself but instead to let oneself get lost in the tiny pockets of the city, where there is always some gem of a place to be discovered and a fresh experience to be encountered. Greeks are famed worldwide for their joie de vivre, any time, any day of the week. Psyrri is a microcosmic example of the city at large, so get moving!

A-Z of Psyrri Nightlife


Taki 3, tel: (6977) 469356
Small, cosy and familiar, Astron, in the heart of Psyrri, is widely appreciated for its live DJ sets and island-like atmosphere. It is a chilled host to a young, arty and fashionable crowd.


Tournavitou & Sarri, tel: 210 3222297
Bringing out the child in you, Babaloo, on the outskirts of Psyrri offers a relaxed party atmosphere to the sounds of reggae and funk.

Free Your Base

Ermou 110 & Avliton 6-8, tel: 6932 076122
Two-storey Morroccan lounge-style atmosphere hosting live bongo playing, rap and saxophone acts. A bit seedy at times.


Riga Palamidou 5, tel: 210 3221086
Japanese restaurant in a Japanese subway setting, offers unique varieties of sushi and other dishes, in the summer based on what the owners have personally fished out of the sea.

Gramophone Museum

N. Apostoli 8, tel: 210 3231612
An interesting stroll through time, a place where you can see gramophones from numerous periods.


3 Avissinias Sq., tel: 210 3246446
Set in the antiques market and actually using old furniture for its clients in a dimly-lit atmosphere. Electro-pop transports you to another dimension.

Kouzina Cine Psyrri

Sarri 40, Psirri, tel: 210 32 15 534
Set in what used to be the royal stables, this restaurant-bar offers an intriguing variety of Greek, Asian and Mediterranean cuisine, on Sundays to the invigorating sounds of live Latin.

Mad Club

Ermou 110 & Avliton 6-8, tel: 210 3227663
Freestyle electronica, raga, dub and soft punk music at this large and grungy club, located right next door to Free Your Base.

Multi Culti

Ag. Theklas 8, tel: 210 3244643
Unique for being the one and only multi-cultural restaurant on the ground floor and a record store on the floor above.


Ag. Eleousis 3 & Kakourgiodikeiou Psirri, tel: 010 33 17 801
The leading fashion mainstream club restaurants draws in Athens’ crème de la crème for an warmly plush atmosphere with a twist of 30’s glamour. Mainstream and the best of 70s and 80s music.


43 Ag. Anargiron, tel: 210 3312446
A tiny and cute fish restaurant named ‘kitty cat’ with a funky décor and light-hearted staff.


Miaouli St .
Notorious for its honey-raki and trendy but traditional kafeneion (old coffee shop) atmosphere, Rebekka’s is perfect for a chilled ouzo or Greek coffee.

Red Marrakech

Agatharhou 3, Psirri, tel: 010 33 17 646-8
Apart from its thrillingly exotic décor and culinary delights, this locale will wow you with its table-to-table Moroccan band and feisty belly-dancers.


65 Evripidou, tel: 210 3310907
Low-key trendy New York vibe, with upstairs dance club and flavorsome international dishes.

Taki 13

Taki 13, tel: 210 3254707
Offers authentic and tasty Greek fare, live music and dancing. A tourist must-go.


1 Lepeniotou
All stone and wood and catacomb-like, things get really hot and lively here to the sounds of funk and jazz tunes.


37 Sarri, 210 3217117
Beaty bar fun in a neoclassical setting, also serving creative Mediterranean food.


1 Aristofanous, tel: 210 3244794
Minimalist Japanese décor, well-known DJs, lots of happenings and dark lighting successfully draw in the crowds.


10 Taki & Ag. Anargyron, tel: 210 3215368
Cosy, lazy atmosphere combined with appetizing dishes keep one lingering


28 Karaiskaki, tel: 210 3314601-2
A grand variety of beer to be experimented with at this modern/country style spot with a friendly atmosphere.

See Also:
Athens Nightlife

Alexia Amvrazi Homepage

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